History of Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day - Día de la Madre | Cultural Bytes
Mother’s Day - Día de la Madre | Cultural Bytes

Ann Who?

The second Sunday in May is quickly approaching. Florists are scrambling to prepare the perfect arrangements, stores are putting chocolate and decorations on display, husbands are working overtime to earn a little extra for the weekend, and children are coloring cards, all in preparation for a special woman they call…. Ann Reeves Jarvis. That’s not quite right, as most people don’t even recognize that name and each family is actually preparing to honor the special mother in their own life. Here’s the story of this unknown woman and how the holiday we call, “Mother’s Day,” began.

An Honorable Idea

In 1905, Ann Reeves Jarvis died, which prompted her daughter, Anna Jarvis, to begin a campaign to create an official, national holiday to honor mothers. Over the years, the movement gained attention and popularity in states around America, and in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation citing that the second Sunday of May would be known as, “Mother’s Day.” 

Anna’s original aim of Mother’s Day was to be a day dedicated to expressing love and gratitude to mothers, acknowledging the sacrifices mothers make for their family. She believed each individual family should take time to celebrate its own mother, so that women across the country – and little did she know, the world – would feel loved and appreciated in their own families.

A Not-So-Honorable Advancement

Though created with pure intentions, the holiday quickly capitalized into an opportunity for florists, candy-makers, card-makers, and even charities to make a profit. According to Anna, the commercialization of Mother’s Day “defeated the whole point of a holiday that was supposed to be about celebrating the personal, individual connection between a mother and her children”(1) and Anna spent a lot of her own money in lawsuits against businesses, as well as petitioned to have the very holiday she created removed from the calendar.

A Resolution

 Regardless of whether you agree with Anna on the monetary abuse of the holiday or not, I think we can all agree that mothers are an incredible part of our lives, both individually and societally, and they deserve to be honored every day, especially on the second Sunday of May. Whether you take mom out on an extravagant breakfast and expensive spa trip, or cook for her at home with handmade cards, we should all resolve to honor the mother in our life who has given so much love, time, and effort to make us who we are today. To all the moms out there, “Happy Mother’s Day” and “Feliz Día de la Madre!”

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